US weekly jobless claims total 1.542 million, vs 1.6 million estimate

The pace of unemployment claims declined again last week as the U.S. jobs market continued its plodding recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, Labor Department data showed Thursday.

Initial claims totaled 1.54 million, compared to the 1.6 million expected from economists surveyed by Dow Jones and a plunge of 355,000 from the previous week’s total just shy of 1.9 million. The four-week moving average, which smooths volatility in the numbers fell by 286,250 to 2 million.

Though the total decelerated for the 10th straight week, it still represents a stunningly sharp exodus of workers to the unemployment line over the past three months.

Those collecting benefits declined by 339,000 to 20.9 million, compared to the crisis peak of 24.9 million during the week of May 9. The four-week moving average of continuing claims fell to 21.9 million, a decrease of 404,750 from a week ago.

The report comes a week after the Bureau of Labor Statistics said that nonfarm payrolls increased by 2.5 million in May, though reporting errors have cast some doubt about how aggressive the recovery has been so far.

The insured unemployment rate, which is a basic measure that counts those collecting benefits against the total labor force, fell 0.2 percentage points to 14.4%.

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